Four essential principles

guide us through the creation of truly sustainable and whole farming systems that balance the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability


  1. PROGRESSIVELY IMPROVE WHOLE AGROECOSYSTEMS (SOIL, WATER AND BIODIVERSITY) to achieve increased agricultural productivity while enhancing ecosystem services and climate resilience.

  2. CONTINUALLY GROW AND EVOLVE THE HUMAN CAPITAL to improve livelihoods and foster inclusive economic growth, and enhance the resilience of people, communities and ecosystems

  3. CREATE CONTEXT-SPECIFIC DESIGNS AND MAKE HOLISTIC DECISIONS THAT EXPRESS THE ESSENCE OF EACH FARM to achieve higher rates of efficiency in the use of key inputs, including water, nutrients, pesticides, energy (including farm power), land and labour.

  4. ADAPT GOVERNANCE TO NEW CHALLENGES and enhance dialogue and coordination with other stakeholders, strengthen innovation systems and facilitate knowledge and capacity sharing within farms from our portfolio.


The ultimate goal on the farm is to [for ex.: become entirely self-sufficient, producing all of the feed, water, energy and fertiliser that we need to sustain our stock]. Many aspects of this rely on drawing upon old knowledge of agro-ecological farming systems, while others involve embracing new technology such as drip irrigation, soil monitoring and tractors.



The intercropping of nitrogen fixing trees, plantain, beans and cocoa trees in the arable area of the farm is helping to move us towards self-sufficiency by building up soil fertility and organic matter through litter decomposition and use of composted cocoa pods as secondary input.

Over the next decade, we hope to have reduced chemical fertiliser use by over 50%, and buy in minimal nitrogen and [for ex. no phosphate or potash]. This is expected to be gradual, with the decrease in bagged fertiliser made possible by a considerable increase in soil organic matter and microbial activity.

Our 800-Ha agroforestry system consists of 4 different shrub and tree species that are inter-cropped: cocoa, plantain, pigeon pea, legume and timber trees. Pigeon bean and plantain are fast-growing species, providing an early and temporal shade to the cocoa seedlings, while also providing early cash-flows. Additionally, the pigeon pea is a shrub that can fix nitrogen and a source of food for birds. Plantain is planted at xx density and pigeon peas at xx density. We also plant xx/Ha of Gliricidia sepium and almendro trees, which grow at a slower rate and so provide shade to the mature cocoa crop; these trees also fix nitrogen and provide lots of litter to increase organic matter and worm populations in the soil. In this way, we always have cover over the soil and can avoid taking heavy machinery over when it is wet.

We expect cocoa yields slightly above average for Panama, predominantly due [insert here, for ex. to the fertility provided by ]. Cocoa harvests at about 1.5 tonnes/Ha, plantain at xx tonnes and pigeon pea at xx tonnes.



We look to support and enhance habitats around the farm wherever possible, making space for as many species as possible in and alongside the agricultural land. In 2018 we conducted a biodiversity assessment on the farm that will allow us to monitor the impact in wildlife on the farm. It is rare to walk across the farm and not see a flock of parrots, often of up 100 birds or more. Closer to the forested areas is common to see Short-billed Pigeons, Spotted Antibirds, Plain Xenops and more common songbirds.

In October 2018 we conducted a biodiversity assessment where 10 camera traps were installed to detect mammal species within Cuango’s primary forest. The traps covered a an approximate area of 600 hectares. A variety of IUCN and CITES listed species are present in the protected natural forests: Ocelots, Margays, Pumas, Peccaries, Agoutis, Coatis, Tayras, Ant eaters, and many different birds and bats species, were identified over a period of 35 days.

This biodiversity assessment is part of a larger research project to evaluate the impact of transforming extensive cattle farms into agroforestry, specifically in increasing forest connectivity using cocoa agroforest corridors and mixed planttaions of native timber species. We are seeking strategic partnerships with research institutes and universities that would be interested in conducting long-term research.

In 2019, we won the World Resources Institute prize [insert name] for regenerative farming and wildlife conservation. The implementation and integrated management of these wildlife spaces was cited as an important reason for the farm’s success, which helped reinforce the value of everything we have been doing here and motivate us to continue into the future.


Precision agriculture




The ultimate goal on the farm is to…


permanent Soil cover


Organic matter cycling

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Smallholder program “one by one”

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The ultimate goal on the farm is to…


cocoa pod composting

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smart mechanization and precision fertigation

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Single mother program

Building on succesful social programs of our partners in the country, our post-harvest plant will ensure employment opportunities to those who are too often forgotten or denied opportunities in the Dominican Republic - single mothers.


The ultimate goal of the farm is to preserve varieties of fine-tasting cocoa


organic rehabilitation

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biological diversity conservation

One common strategy for adapting to climate change is to exploit locally adapted crops and varieties. These genetic sources offer higher resistance to the abiotic and biotic stresses that result from climate changes. Taking advantage of years of on-farm selection processess led by the previous owner of the farms, we are using better adapted varieties while preserving varieties of fine-tasting cocoa.


empowerment of agricultural communities

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The ultimate goal of the farm is to adapt to severe droughts magnified by climate change


severe drought adaptive measures

A water reservoir is being built to capture and store rainwater and water from the rivers that cross the plantation during the rainy season so that the plantation does not suffer from severe droughts that are increasingly recurrent.

Composting of cocoa pods will begin in year 2019 which will not only decrease the need for chemical fertilizers, but also improve the water retention capacity of the soil, ultimately saving important amounts of water.

Additionally, the irrigation system is being repaired which will reduce current water loss due to leakages.


Precision agriculture

12Tree is making a considerable investment in Maquencal’s fertigation system which will apply smaller doses of fertilizer and allow the project to substantially reduce the current operating costs of mechanical and manual application of fertilizer.


Feature 3

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